Good food reads
Liberals announce national food policy with $134-million pledge to improve access
In the Globe, Ann Hui reports on the announcement of A Food Policy for Canada, which emphasizes the importance of access to healthy and nutritious food and the need for collaboration between the many different groups involved in the system. She also tracks the development of the policy from the initial committment in 2015 through to the consultations with 45,000 Canadians and finally the release this week. From the piece: “The idea is really to work together as a good food system to allow all Canadians [to] have access to good food.”
Sending surplus food to charity is not the way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
On the Conversation, Queen's Health Studies professor Elaine Power reminds us that we must resist the temptation to see food charity as a solution to the massive issue of food waste — even when we learn Canada is warming twice as fast of the world and we need urgent action to tackle climate change.
From the piece: "There is no reason why we cannot achieve our goals of reducing food waste and greenhouse gas emissions while also assuring all Canadians the income they need for an adequate standard of living, including the ability to buy their own food."
Senators working to block bill that restricts food and drink ads aimed at children
Earlier this month, the Globe and Mail reported that Bill S-228, which would restrict food and drink marketing to kids, could face a quiet death in the Senate after working its way through Parliament for almost three years. A possibility that's looking more likely with few sitting days left. Some Senators are working to block the bill on the basis of concerns from food and beverage manufacturers, farmers, and others who say the legislation would have a negative effect on industries. From the piece: “I worry that it’s a delay tactic,” said Manuel Arango, director of policy, advocacy and engagement at the Heart and Stroke Foundation, a leading member of the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition, which has lobbied for the bill. “The food-industry lobby has been very active in influencing senators. This is our concern. The bill is very reasonable.”
Canada's food guide is easy to follow if you're wealthy or middle class
In the Brampton Guardian, Guelph University development researchers Steffi Hamann and Arvinder Pannu ask how affordable, equitable and feasible are the recommendations in the national food guide? Unsurprisingly, they find that social assistance is not adequate for basic needs let alone the foods recommended by the guide. From the piece: "We are at a pivotal point with various policy options to choose from. Low-income Canadians may continue to rely on charitable food donations, but these can be unpredictable. Instead, we can advocate for more effective income-based solutions to food insecurity. This may include strengthening the existing universal child-care benefit, a guaranteed annual income for senior citizens, or even a universal basic income."
Pharmacare costing: How to make universal, single-payer pharmacare work for households and employers
Following the Advisory Council on Implementation of National Pharmacare report, which recommended universal pharmacare, many focused on the price tag of the policy and asked if we can afford it. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives senior economist David Macdonald writes not only that we can and that we have multiple options to do it, but that we can't afford not to. From the piece: "The bottom line is this: the federal government has solid options for funding a universal pharmacare program."
Boston Brings Sustainability, Equity to Its Food Purchasing
Civil Eats does a deep dive into Boston's recently unanimously approved good food purchasing program. What stands out about Boston's policy is that it requires the city to procure sustainably-grown food, consider animal welfare and the local economy, but also focus on racial equity in the food chain during the purchasing process. From the piece: "Our success depends on who’s at the table,” she said. “It depends on opportunities, resources for different communities, especially Black communities, women, indigenous communities, small farmers, and family farmers. Part of the GFPP’s goal is to give these groups opportunities to benefit from this market.”
New Zealand’s Next Liberal Milestone: A Budget Guided by ‘Well-Being’
The New York Times reports New Zealand will move away from more traditional bottom-line measures like productivity and economic growth and instead focus on goals like community and cultural connection and equity and well-being across generations. From the piece: "Under New Zealand’s revised policy, all new spending must advance one of five government priorities: improving mental health, reducing child poverty, addressing the inequalities faced by indigenous Maori and Pacific islands people, thriving in a digital age, and transitioning to a low-emission, sustainable economy."
Food insecurity rising in Nunavut since launch of Nutrition North: study
CBC reports that food insecurity in Nunavut has gottne worse since the introduction of the Nutrition North program in 2011, according to a University of Toronto study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. They found that 46 per cent of households in Nunavut were experiencing food insecurity in 2016, up from 33.1 per cent in 2011 when Nutrition North was introduced. From the piece: "The absence of price caps, program accountability and transparency, and limited responsiveness to community needs have been noted to undermine the ability of the program to meet its goals."